Sarrah Strimel is a breast cancer warrior, yoga expert, and overall inspirational human. We had the opportunity to discuss her very recent breast cancer diagnosis, and how she’s finding peace and inner light during her treatment.
Sarrah was diagnosed in August 2020 at the age of 38 after feeling a lump in her breast. She had a double mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
ARE THERE ANY EXERCISES THAT HAVE HELPED YOU THROUGH THIS PROCESS?
I haven't really been able to do any yoga- I have cording so I can't really straighten my arm. Even Child's Pose is hard right now. But a really simple and beautiful thing that I'd like to share is called Three Part Breath. It just takes your nervous system and "chills it out." I even did this in my plastic surgeon's office. It's the most elegant, easy thing you can drop into when you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious. And you don't have to have breast cancer to understand that!
Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes, place your palms down on your thighs to ground your energy. Be aware of where your weight is. Once you find where your weight feels centered, move your neck around, let your shoulders soften. Release your belly completely and take a full breath in and let your lungs expand. Give a nice big sigh out. Take a few more of those clearing inhales and exhales. Let out some sighs. And that sound let's you release the tension. Imagine sipping air in from a straw and one dramatic sigh out. Slowly inhale for 3 counts. Hold your breath at the top of the inhale. And then exhale for 3 counts. Do this 4 times. On the last exhale pull the belly button to the spine and exhale a sigh out. It's a great way to face everything with renewed strength.
HOW HAS YOUR DHARMA SHAPED YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Dharma in yoga is a Buddhist existential principle of cosmic law that teaches us that we should live to be the best humans we can be. It teaches us to let go of control that we have over our life. Whatever the story that we've always created for ourselves, letting go of clinging to it. And when we let go and come out the other side, we've learned something meaningful about ourselves. For some women and men, we have too much control over our bodies. And focus too much on our bodies rather than the gifts we have and how we feel. And it's this beautiful moment to remind ourselves that we're more than just a body and shapes.
WHAT HELPS YOU REMAIN POSITIVE IN THE FACE OF YOUR DIAGNOSIS?
I'm happy, I'm madly in love, all while having cancer. I'm trying to maintain that spirit. A lot of it is my yoga practice. It sneaks in and comes into play in moments like this!